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Review of Girard Perregaux Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges

by Peter Chong on April 7, 2015

Girard Perregaux have always made beautiful watches. Even watches which, going by just reading the design brief will sound like its going to look awkward, comes out to look great. And right. Not all great brands are able to make claim to that. We credit this to the incredible genius of the late Gino Macaluso, and now his son Stephano Macaluso. We interviewed the younger Macaluso when he was in Singapore last year to try and get a glimpse into the creation process. Read that interview here. But the subject of today’s hands-on review is the new Girard Perregaux Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges. The name is a mouthful. But this is certainly one of the most drop dead gorgeous watches in this Baselworld 2015. 

 

The Girard Perregaux Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges

 

Girard Perregaux Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges ref 99820

Girard Perregaux Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges ref 99820

 

One of the most gorgeous watches in Baselworld is certainly a lofty claim. And we do admit, we are great fans of the basis GP Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges since its launch. This new timepiece builds on the fabulous Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridge, and adds an interesting minute repeater mechanism which is on the dial side, allowing the owner to observe the striking action.

 

The GP 99820, two gold bridges in traditional GP fashion, and the third removed to show the racks of the striking mechanism.

The GP 99820, two gold bridges in traditional GP fashion, and the third removed to show the racks of the striking mechanism. As with the GP Tourbillon with Three Gold Bridges, the finish of the Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges is exceptional. Top quality finishing. Note the lustre of the deep polishing of the gold bridges, with the iconic arrow head shape. Also the tourbillon carriage is finished in high polish manner fitting a top drawer watch.

 

Personally, I usually prefer a discrete tourbillon without an opening on the dial to display the tourbillon, but the GP tourbillons give me reason to abandon this preference. In fact, this watch has no dial to speak of, being totally open and the owner can appreciate the beauty of the bridge and movement layout as well as the exceptional level of finishing accorded,

 

The tourbillon

 

Detail of the tourbillon. The gold bridge holding the tourbillon carriage carries the traditional GP motif, and is wonderously finished. The anglage and sharp points are done par excellence. As is the highly polished countersink for the tourbillon staff's jewel.

Detail of the tourbillon. The gold bridge holding the tourbillon carriage carries the traditional GP motif, and is wonderously finished. The anglage and sharp points are done par excellence. As is the highly polished countersink for the tourbillon staff’s jewel. The tourbillon cage itself is also in the motif of the traditional GP Tourbillons, and is also exceptionally well finished. Beautifully polished, with good anglage. Note the inward angles on the cage. Visible in this photograph is also the third wheel of the wheel train, which in a tourbillon is fixed stationary.

 

Adding a complication on top of another is not a great achievement in itself. This complications melange is often the recourse when manufactures run out of innovative ideas and just pile one complication on another making what they tout to be Grande Complications. These sandwiches are often of little interest, safe a few notable exceptions. But in creating this minute repeater, GP has stayed away from this, by making the repeating mechanism to be quite novel.

 

The minute repeater

 

The hammers of the GP Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges is a visual reminder of the missing third bridge, creating the cue based on its shape.

The hammers of the GP Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges is a visual reminder of the missing third bridge, creating the cue based on its shape.

 

The striking mechanism is rather interesting. The heel of the gongs are linked to the main plate and the pink gold case. In a standard repeater, the heel of the gongs are only linked to the main plate. The sound of the strikes are thus carried and amplified through these linkages. The case itself becomes a resonator and an amplifier for the strikes. This concept is similar, but not the same as the Jaeger LeCoultre crystal gongs, where the gongs are attached to the crystals, using the crystals as resonating chambers to amplify the sound.

The gongs are in gold, and like all repeaters, the tuning of the gongs are what makes or breaks the fine resonant, harmonious sound as the hammers strike. In the case of the GP Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges, it is rather successful. Each strike is clean, clear, loud, and decays beautifully and harmoniously.

 

The Caliber 9500-0002 movement

 

The caliber 9500-0002 movement is magnificent when viewed from the back as well. The bridges are well laid out, and look harmonious in relation to each other, despite the complication.

The caliber 9500-0002 movement is magnificent when viewed from the back as well. The bridges are well laid out, and look harmonious in relation to each other, despite the complication. The flywheel regulator is seen at about 3 o’clock in the photograph. Although the entire striking mechanism is placed on the dial side, this component is placed on the reverse. The reason is to isolate the noise from this regulator, often heard as a whirring sound when the repeater is being operated, loved by some, despised by others.

 

The bridges are beautifully laid out, and finished very well.

The bridges are beautifully laid out, and finished very well.

 

A wrist shot of the GP Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges. Rather comfortable on the wrist. Diameter of case is 45mm.

A wrist shot of the GP Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges. Rather comfortable on the wrist. Diameter of case is 45mm. The 3 dimensional nature of the watch when viewed dial side is just mesmerising. Layers on layers of fine detailing come to light as one examines the watch on one’s wrist, and contemplates that life is good.

 

Girard Perregaux Minute Repeater Tourbillon with Gold Bridges  Reference: 99820-52-000-BA6A

Technical Specifications

 Case in pink gold

Diameter: 45,00 mm

Crystal: anti-reflective sapphire

Case-back: sapphire crystal, secured by 6 screws

Water resistance: 30 meters (3 AT M)

Integrated side bolt in the case at 9 o’clock for activation of the minute repeater

Internal flange in pink gold with circular graining.

Applied indexes in pink gold, polished

Girard-Perregaux GP09500-0002 movement

Mechanical, manual winding

Diameter: 32,00 mm (14’’’ ¼ )

Thickness: 9,35 mm

Frequency: 21.600 Vib/h – (3 Hz)

Power reserve: minimum 58 hours

Jewels: 37

Number of components: 406

Arrow-shaped Bridges and marking plates in pink gold

Functions: Tourbillon and minute repeater, hour, minute

Tourbillon:

  • Tourbillon carriage: 91 components for 0.49 g
  • Diameter: 13,60 mm
  • Balance wheel: variable inertia with pink gold setting screws
  • One rotation per minute

Minute repeater:

  • Gong on two tones in steel 20AP (hours and quarters on the first tone, minutes and quarters on the second tone)
  • Hammer inspired by the arrow-shaped Bridges of Girard-Perregaux, jewels above and under
  • Speed regulator with gold inertia-blocks

All the components of the movement are manufactured by hand according to the criteria of the Haute Horlogerie.

Hand-stitched black alligator strap

Triple-Folding buckle in pink gold with safety lock

Limited edition of 10 pieces.

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